Preventive measures, which include protecting the eyes from harmful light, are a high priority in combating vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts that are occurring worldwide. It is estimated that more than 350 million people worldwide are affected - a number that could double in the next 30 years. For our eyes, longer life expectancy poses a major challenge, as they are evolutionarily designed for a shorter lifespan. Increasing exposure to light such as street lighting, neon signs and digital displays place more stringent demands on our visual apparatus, but also on our sleep/wake rhythm, perceptions, memory performance, creativity and mood.

Constantly looking at smartphones and computer screens is not good for the eyes. The blue components in the light emitted by the devices are said to be to blame. Especially in the evening, experts recommend using devices only in night mode, since blue light is suspected of reducing the production of the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for sleep, and thus disrupts the day and night rhythm. Blue component in daylight, on the other hand, is not much more dangerous, they say, because daylight contains infrared components that can repair certain processes in the eye *).

The higher the blue components emitted by a screen, regardless of its brightness, the more awake you stay because the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for sleep, is suppressed. The speed of falling asleep increases when the color temperature is slowly reduced towards falling asleep, i.e. blue components are slowly removed.

This can be remedied with protective films on cell phones or computers, or by means of eyeglass lenses with special blue light filters.

*) Light researcher Oliver Stefani, Basel